Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Do you have a trench in your French-inspired capsule wardrobe? If your answer is not "Oui!" or you have no idea what a capsule wardrobe is, don't despair. You see, the capsule wardrobe is simply a new old way of thinking about clothes, similar to the new old way of growing food or using mason jars (to avoid plastic toxins and organize your whole foods, naturally).
Like so many other "new" fads, our great-grandmothers were way ahead of their time. Here we are a century later, where fast-fashion dominates, renaming a wardrobe a "capsule" wardrobe in much the same way food grown back then is now labeled organic. Great-grandma Edna most likely had a small closet of well-made, classic, versatile clothing. If she sewed some of her clothing, then it was surely more ethically made. I'm afraid the textile industry has been pretty corrupt for some time, so sadly there is no guarantee that great-granny's fabric wasn't made by Oliver Twist.
Scaling back one's wardrobe seems very limiting, but surprisingly it has the reverse effect of being extremely freeing. It's the solution to the over-stuffed closet and "nothing to wear" paradoxical problem. I came to this realization through decluttering my wardrobe à la the Kon Mari Method. It's the first category in the once in a lifetime whole house decluttering "festival" as she calls it. There are many ways to come to this "quality over quantity" conclusion, however, as evidenced by the capsule wardrobe's growing popularity. Not all professors of the small wardrobe have traveled the same path, but they did come to the same truth. Less is indeed more.
One such truth teller is Jennifer L. Scott. I stumbled upon this chic woman's TEDx talk one day a few months after decluttering my closet. Her talk captures the beauty of what a smaller wardrobe has to offer. Scott, a Southern Californian, lived with a Parisian family for a year and learned many lessons on living well. She writes of the transformative nature of owning a 10 Item Wardrobe in her book Lessons from Madame Chic and vlogs about it on The Daily Connoisseur (a welcome corner of class on the internet) among many other topics related to fine living. It's not as confining as it sounds since the 10 items are "core" items that change seasonally and additional layering pieces such as t-shirts and cardigans don't count.
Perhaps you aren't quite convinced you should donate much of your wardrobe just yet, but are curious and want to test the waters first. Dip your toe in with Project 333. It's a challenge to wear 33 items for 3 months. Nothing permanent. Very low commitment. See for yourself how quality over quantity makes a difference in your life. Even if your 33 does not inspire you to channel your inner Audrey and include a classic French Breton, skinny pants, and ballet flats, give it a try and you may find yourself feeling très chic in your own way.
Interested in finding your style through an in-house consultation? We offer that. Check out our Closet Edit.
"Jennifer L. Scott is the New York Times bestselling author of Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic (Simon & Schuster) and creator of the blog The Daily Connoisseur. She is a contributing writer for Huffington Post Style and has been featured on CNN, BBC, and CBS News, and in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Newsweek, and The Daily Mail. She lives with her family in Los Angeles, California." (https://dailyconnoisseur.blogspot.com/p/about.html)